Lela Elam's dazzlingly versatile performance in Nilaja Sun's No Child was one of the highlights of GableStage's 2008-09 season. If you missed her multi-character solo exploration of life inside one tough classroom, you have another chance to see it -- if you're anywhere near Key West or willing to do a road trip.
The production at Key West's Waterfront Playhouse at Mallory Square was directed by former South Floridian Rich Simone (Joseph Adler did the honors at GableStage), but the situation and star are the same. Carbonell Award winner Elam plays several teachers, an elderly janitor and numerous students whose lives are changed for the better when learning inspires them.
Here's just a bit from my review last April:
"Perhaps the most awe-inspiring moments in No Child,at least for anyone who couldn't begin to do what Elam does, are the scenes in which Ms. Sun is working with the class. Technically speaking, she is alone onstage. But she's so good at suggesting the chaotic mix of voices in a classroom, so good at conveying those sparking moments of connection that when she lets some of the characters share her final bows, it feels just right."
No Child opens Tuesday and runs nightly at 8 through Feb. 6 at the Waterfront. Tickets are $35 ($20 for teachers, $15 for students under 18), For info, call 1-305-294-5015 or visit the theater's web site.
(Photo by Peter Arnow)